Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'Poor Moral Judgment:' Hearing Told la Loche Shooter Has PTSD, Suicidal Thoughts

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

'Poor Moral Judgment:' Hearing Told la Loche Shooter Has PTSD, Suicidal Thoughts

Article excerpt

La Loche school shooter has PTSD: hearing

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MEADOW LAKE, Sask. - A psychiatrist says that a teenager who gunned down four people in northern Saskatchewan has symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and flashbacks which have led to suicidal thoughts.

Dr. Mansfield Mela testified in court Thursday that the flashbacks were "quite incapacitating" for the teen, who needed medication because "he couldn't sleep from the images."

"He was becoming more hopeless and the images were quite distressing to him," Mela said at a sentencing hearing to determine if the teen will be sentenced as an adult or a youth.

Crown prosecutor Lloyd Stang questioned how the teen fit the diagnosis of PTSD when one of the symptoms is avoidance of thoughts or conversation about the traumatic event.

Stang noted that the teen drew pictures shortly after the January 2016 shooting in La Loche, one of which depicted two graves for victims Dayne and Drayden Fontaine and another open grave for himself.

But Mela said that drawing wasn't a memory from the event, so it didn't count as avoidance, and Mela stood by his PTSD diagnosis.

Mela also said the teen has an intellectual disability, major depressive disorder and displays signs of fetal alcohol syndrome.

"He has poor reasoning, poor problem-solving and poor intellect," Mela told the hearing being held in Meadow Lake, Sask.

He said the teen's mental age at the time of the January 2016 shooting in La Loche was closer to that of a 12-year-old than a 17-year-old.

The teen killed the Fontaine brothers in a home before shooting up the high school where teacher Adam Wood and teacher's aide Marie Janvier died. Seven others were hurt.

The teen -- who cannot be named since he was just shy of his 18th birthday when the shooting occurred -- pleaded guilty last fall to two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder. …

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